Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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WEST HARTFORD – Sister Mary Damien Lee (Josephine Elizabeth Lee), a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, West Hartford, died on Feb. 29, 2016, at Lourdes Health Care Center in Wilton. She was 87 years old.

She was born on July 30, 1928, in Hartford, the daughter of the late Thomas Francis Lee and Elizabeth (Raymond) Lee. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1947, and professed her vows on Aug. 23, 1950.

Sister Mary Damien earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in education from the Diocesan Sisters College in West Hartford and a master’s degree in counseling from Fairfield University. After further studies in alcohol and drug counseling at the University of Hartford and Rutgers University in Newark N.J., Sister Mary Damien received state certification in alcohol and drug counseling.

Sister Mary Damien taught in elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford and also spent years as a guidance counselor at the former South Catholic High School in Hartford and Sacred Heart Academy in Stamford, and as a counselor at Meridian House in Stamford. She continued her counseling ministry in Framingham, Mass., Washington, D.C. and Temple Hills, Md.

From there she was assistant director of Seminole Point Hospital and unit supervisor at Spofford Hall, both in New Hampshire.

She was a counselor at the Hartford Correctional Center, McDougal-Walker Correctional Center in South Suffield and Osborne Correctional Center in Somers.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.